YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Last year, the late Bishop George Murry announced the approved plan for pastoral regions of the Diocese of Youngstown. A Hispanic group of Catholics is still on edge with this new decision.
Members from the Santa Rosa de Lima stood in front of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown Saturday, letting their voices be heard after upcoming changes were announced.
“There are Hispanics all over, and we want to minister to them. We want to be able to reach out to them, and we feel that this is being taken away from us,” said Mary Gonzalez, a member of the Santa Rosa de Lima Faith Community.
Starting next Sunday, a plan is set in place that includes the relocating of the two Hispanic masses currently being celebrated at St. Brendan Parish in Youngstown and Christ the Good Shepherd Parish in Campbell to a central location at St. Dominic Parish in Youngstown.
“This is a part of the regional plan of the Diocese of Youngstown. We have to realize that certain parishes within Youngstown no longer have Sunday mass,” said Monsignor John A. Zuraw, Chancellor of the Diocese of Youngstown.
Late Bishop Murry had stated given the realities of population, Catholic affiliation and participation and the aging demographic of priests, each parish was placed into a pastoral region.
“The plan allows us to think about creative solutions to fit local needs,” said Monsignor Zuraw.
But this Hispanic and Latino Catholic group is not on board with the new plan.
“Everybody is now suffering. It’s not just the Hispanic community, but our Polish brothers and sisters on the south side,” Monsignor Zuraw said.
Santa Rosa de Lima has been around since the 1950’s, helping the transition of others as well as keeping the connection of their culture and faith.
“We have, in our church, over 250 families. We have a lot of families that came from Puerto Rico that don’t speak English,” Mary said.
“We have been in the leadership for over 50 years and guiding our people, and most of all, we are very focused on sharing with others our spirituality,” said Felipe Gonzalez, another member of the community.
Felipe says they are very concerned about the transition because they felt they weren’t part of the decision.
“We want to be able to have our place of worship,” Felipe said.
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